I am a sucker for books about founders and companies. The diversity of stories about businesses and the people that built them leads to a genre that is often fresh, although it can also be littered with duds and platitudes. This one was full of stories and wisdom. Ride of a Lifetime by Bob Iger was an interesting read that gives Disney fans a peek behind the thinking of where the company is today.
This book is for someone who wants to know what it is like to run a company, or someone who wants a peek behind the curtain of the growth of Disney. Most people know that Disney also includes Star Wars and Pixar, but you might not know why or how. Iger shares the thinking behind his strategy for the future of Disney, and then walks us through his execution of that strategy. There is an element of luck and gut, this strategy could have failed, but Iger is honest in admitting that.
One thing that surprised me was how much overlap Disney has with the technology industry. Iger shares a good amount about his relationship with Steve Jobs and the acquisition of Pixar. He also touches upon the potential acquisition of twitter and notes that Jack Dorsey sits on the Disney board. While Disney has been around for a long time, Iger forges friendships with leaders from new companies to infuse Disney with new magic.
The thing that most comes through in this book is Iger’s personality. He comes off as normal and caring. Where biographies of folks like Steve Jobs and Travis Kalanick might be interesting to read for their salacious details and shocking anecdotes, Iger’s is interesting to read because he is the kind of person you can relate to. He did not grow-up rich and he did not savor conflict. I walked away from the book thinking if Iger could do something at Disney scale, so could I.